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Bandsaw Tracking - Does it have to be this difficult?

12824 Views 14 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  AHuxley
I have my bandsaw tuned up just right. I can resaw 8" Hard Maple with almost no blade drift. The wheels are coplanar, and I can go from 1/4" to 3/4" blades with a quick adjustment of tension and guide bearings.

But I can't get a 1/8" blade to stay on - it quickly wanders off the front edge of the bottom wheel. Significant changes in tension make no difference. By adjusting the angle of the top wheel to the limit, I can get the blade to stay on the lower wheel, but just barely - the blade rides on the rim, not on the tire. I might be tempted to settle for that, except the guide bearings don't come any where near the blade.

I would sure appreciate any suggestions!
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for what it's worth, I always have to change the angle on the top wheel when switching between 1/2" blade and my 3/16" blade. but both do ride on the tires, and I'm able to set my guides properly for each. the guide limitation might be based on the BS model though - I know that Carter makes guides specifically for 1/8" blades since on some BSs it's impossible to use the factory set.
Hi Peter

On my Delta 18", I can change from 1 1/4" down to 1/8" without any adjustments of the wheels. I do have to adjust the roller bearings to support the blade at the rear and the sides, but every bandsaw has to do this when a blade is changed.

The guides do/should not affect the tracking of the blade on the wheel - they are only there to help support the blade when the blade is under pressure/load. You should be able to remove the guides totally and get any blade to track dead centre on both the top and bottom wheels. If you cannot do this, then either you have a wheel alignment problem, or maybe the tyres need changing.

Have you checked the 1/8" blade - maybe it is warped/twisted or kinked slightly, it does not take much, especially with a fine blade to make wander - the wider the blade the more forgiving it is.

Good luck.
Peter, try a different blade.
I sounds like you have a bad splice making the blade wander either in or out.

p.s. Can you cut and solder it?

p.s. HiTony!
Hi Peter. gosh I am having the same problem. I just got me a bran new Grizzly GO555 band saw. I went from a 3/4 blade to a 1/8th, and that thing just wouldn't set in the middle no matter what I did. my saw has a cadge on the back for the thickness of blade I use.(tentioning) and I set the blocks, or in my case bearing wheels back.
walked my blade on the wheels., tires, and gosh it took for ever to get it centered. then moved the wheels up to the blade, used the dollar bill to make it right. and it just kept slipping off the tire. played with that thing for ever. so then,,, I just placed the blocks behind the blade, made them tight so the blade couldn't get stuck, got the blade up as close to the middle as I could, and cut some stuff. I know. not good. but I felt safe enough, that the blade would not come off the back. or front. funny thing was. the blade seemed to set in place. and didn't come off even when I adjusted the blocks, wheels in my case. I figured that the rubber tires on my wheels. was grooved to the 3/4 blade and the 1/8 just didn't wont to seat well. I probably had the tension set to tight in the first place and of course a grove. it all works great now. don't know if this helped. but from a newbie. this worked for me. Evie
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Hi Bob
If the blade is good then it should be able to be tracked. I've got an oplder Sears that I use for my 1/8" blades and larger blades on the bigger machine. So I can't say for sure what I'd have to do on my big machine to get 1/8" blades to track.
I think I've figured it out, guys!

My wheels are in alignment vertically - if you lay a straightedge across the rims right next to the hubs, they are dead-on.

My wheels are not in alignment horizontally - if you lay a straightedge across the rims near the front or rear of the wheels, they are way off.

So, tilting the upper wheel and adjusting the wheel position on the axles doesn't solve the problem. The upper arm is not correctly aligned with the base, and there's no adjustment for that. Apparently the solution is to turn the upper arm assembly slightly. I haven't done this yet, because it means partial disassembly of the saw and removing the alignment pins, which I'm not looking forward to.

I have a feeling this is why I break so many blades, too.
HI Peter. I can see where the wheels out of alignment that way will drive the blade off, but I think that would do it on a 1/4" as well. Does the 1/4" blade have that problem too?
Also, do you have a 6" riser on the saw for cutting 12" thick wood? The riser is pinned and screwed in at both ends and that might be the casue if you have one.

Take the blade off and check to see if one of the wheel mounts is loose or a bolt or a pin fell out. There might be a simple fix for the alignment problem. A totally whacked out bearing might also put the wheel at an angle but I think that would make a bit of noise. When all else fails , call the manufacturer.

What make and model saw do you have?
After putting up with this problem for ages, I finally removed the upper arm from the saw, removed one alignment pin from the riser block, and un-shimmed the lower wheel.

When I replaced the upper arm, the missing alignment pin allowed the arm to rotate on the riser block. I was able to get the wheels to align at the inside, center, and outside to within about a 32nd of an inch. The first blade I put on was the 1/8", and it tracks great!

If anyone else is having similar problems, this might be the solution.
Peter, Sounds like you solved it but I have to weigh in with the fix for mine. I could get everything from 1" to 1/4" to track but could NOT get the 1/8" to track. After fighting it all afternoon I called the Grizz tech line. He went through all the things I had tried and finally asked me to decrease the tension. It tracked perfectly! I don't know why but those blades don't like (or need) much tension. I have never had a problem since. Too simple.
Thanks gfadvm for sharing another possible solution. Band saws are so handy, but a little finicky!
Hi Peter,

Thanks for posting your progress in fixing the tracking problem of the lower wheel. I have just replaced the "tires" on my 15 year old Mastercraft bandsaw after noticing serious problems with makeshift tires I put on about four years ago when the original tires seemed to have just rotted off the wheel rims!

After going through the ordeal of getting the urethane bands that seemed too small onto the wheels (which, by the way, is actually easy if you know the right technique as shown on YouTube videos), I then had to realign the wheels for the new 1/8th inch blade. That's when I noticed the problem you so clearly described: the blade was riding on the center of the upper wheel tire but on the rim of the lower wheel. After reading your description of checking the planar relations of both wheels, changing the shim positions on the upper wheel riser block and playing with the center bolt shims of the lower wheel, I actually got the blade riding consistently on the new tire band of the lower wheel! I finished cleaning out the dirt, tuned up the guides, set the tension, checked the drive belt and all the nuts, closed it up and voilà! It worked better than I ever remember it working: quietly and with control to make short radius curved cuts that I don't remember being able to do as fluidly and easily before.

It was your post among all that got me on the right "track" (pun intended!) So thank you for your own perseverance and sharing.

Cheers and back to my latest project.
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So I have the 14 in G0555 Deluxe, also very interested in the 1/8 blade option for cutting curves with ease. However after reading this thread and many more, I cannot get any blade below 1/4 to track in the center.

The crappy 3/8 blade they sent me tracks well, though there is some fluttering. The other ones I bought were a 3 pack from Timberwolf, 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4.

I fought with the 1/8 blade for 2 days tried everything I could watched videos from Grizzly, Snodgrass, read forums, and even looked at the manual that came with the saw, lol.

I was looking to try the Carter Stabilizer, but on the website it appears there is no model for my saw it only lists one for Grizzly 16 in model. Does anyone have the stabilizer for the G0555? If so please provide the model number.

With the 1/4 in blade this saw runs like a dream had no issue cutting a nice curve in 3 in thick oak.
I was looking to try the Carter Stabilizer, but on the website it appears there is no model for my saw it only lists one for Grizzly 16 in model. Does anyone have the stabilizer for the G0555? If so please provide the model number.
I "think" the G0555 takes the HEX1 but there have been several different sets of guides on the G0555 saws over the years so it depends on which exact model one you have. Give Carter a call they are usually good at determining which one you need.

Note the Stabilizer will not "fix" tracking, if you have a significant tracking issue with narrow blades you need to address that separately.
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